Schnitzer Steel Earnings Preview: Time to Move On From the Steel Industry

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Schnitzer Steel (SCHN), one of the largest steel producers in the U.S., will report third-quarter fiscal 2015 earnings results Tuesday before the opening bell.

The metals and mining industry was one of the worst-performing groups in the entire market in 2014, losing more than 14%, according to Fidelity. There were hopes of a "Cinderella rebound" in 2015. This hasn't happened. And it doesn't appear as if even the better-run steel manufacturers can avoid suffering in a commodity industry with poor economics.

Investors would be better served taking what profit or loss they have incurred and moving on to better investment prospects.

Schnitzer, headquartered in Portland, Ore., has been one of the steel companies hardest hurt by slumping iron ore prices. Iron ore is the main ingredient for making steel. Shares of Schnitzer Steel have already plummeted more than 15% so far in 2015.

And considering Schnitzer stock has lost 32% and 56% in the past three years and five years, respectively, it's reasonable to ask what's going to change this year. Just as important, what's going to change next year?

There are no signs that the prospects for this industry are going to get better, especially with the group has already lost some 9% of its value in 2015.

Schnitzer must move mountains Tuesday to keep its stocks from sinking further. And that's a tall order. In order to keep its business running and pay its debts, Schnitzer need higher steel prices to help it generate higher profits. It's been three years with no signs of improvement.

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